We didn’t have an internet connection at the condo where we’ve been staying for the last ten days in a Phoneix suburb. So in the morning when I woke up I would drive to a nearby coffee shop that had wifi to read my e-mail and write this blog.
At around 8 o’clock every day a group of men started drifting in for their morning cup of coffee. They were all seniors, from various places in the United States who had retired here in Phoenix. Most of them seemed to own horses and a number wore cowboy hats. They called themselves The Cowboys. The guys would trickle in one by one, pushing tables together as their group expanded usually to about ten. They had hearty voices and it was impossible not to hear what they were talking about.
They usually discussed the news and politics. They didn’t have much use for President Obama, but they were upset that Republican candidate Mitt Romney has been getting income tax breaks. They were very derisive of that ‘yellow-bellied’ captain who had abandoned his sinking cruise ship in Greece. “Said he was pushed by accident into a lifeboat”, snorted one guy. “A likely story!”
The internet was a frequent topic. They bemoaned the way it had invaded their private lives. One man had received a phone call from someone in Kansas who had heard about a quarter horse he had for sale. “How did you get my phone number?” he demanded of the stranger when he called. “He found my phone number on the dang Internet”, said the elderly cowboy. “No one has any privacy anymore.”
One morning they swapped fishing tales. Apparently, there is a lake nearby where some of them go fishing. Another morning they discussed their family trees. One cowboy claimed that both Queen Victoria and Wild Bill Hickcock were his ancestors.
Another morning, after reflecting on Republican candidate Newt Gingerich’s divorce woes those who were divorced told stories about their first wives. One fellow said, “She told me she wasn’t happy and wanted a divorce. Then later she decided she wanted to come back. I told her it was too late. She got all my stocks”, he chuckled, “but after the recession, you know exactly how much those are worth. Now I have me a real good second wife. When I get home after this she’ll have a nice big hot breakfast ready and waiting for me.”
Last Monday morning after the Green Bay Packers had lost a National Football League playoff game on Sunday they were supposedly a “shoo-in” to win the fellows were livid. “They pay those players millions of dollars and they can’t even catch the damn football.”
Death and illness were also frequent topics of discussion as members were noted absent from the group to attend the funerals of friends and family and the cowboys exchanged information on the medications they were taking for a variety of ills associated with ageing. One morning a scandal had occurred in the trailer park where one of the cowboys lived. A resident had died and left his trailer in his will to a neighbour and good friend, but the morning after his death his children arrived with a truck and hitch to haul the trailer away. “All hell broke loose”, he told his coffee buddies describing the confrontation between the dead resident’s friend and family.
One morning a cowboy had a cut on his chin. He had nicked himself while shaving. As each of his buddies showed up they teased him. “Your wife got a little wild last night eh?”
Now that we’ve left Phoenix I’m going to miss my cowboys. I wonder what they talked about this morning.